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Showing posts from June, 2010

Quatrains

/1/

I sent you a few words
ones that are now rare –
if they reach you one day,
hide them, there’s no way to understand me

/6/

in every word you read there are always
missing letters –
you will find them again someday
amidst thickets of memories.

by Sapardi Djoko Damono
translation: Hasif Amini and Sapardi Djoko Damono

Taken from 3 Quarks Daily

Success

"The exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess Success is our national disease."

William James, American philosopher

Happy

X: You say you are happy with me. That's what you think you are saying. And you conclude that I am the sole necessary condition for that happiness. But what you don't know is that you are actually saying you are happy with me in this particular so-and-so situation, and it is by ignoring this background variable that your reasoning becomes erroneous. I am not the sole necessary condition for your happiness. Put you and me in a different situation, and the outcome may be entirely different. But then, it isn't reasoning that you are doing, is it? You are expressing an emotion, and emotions have no regard for logic.

Unfair

X: Life is so unfair to me. I am cursed.
Me: Life is unfair. There is not much justice to be seen. Some believe in Karma, that things eventually balance out in the end and people get what they deserve. But empirical evidence for it seems to be lacking to me. And it is precisely this lack of evidence that some take to be a moral proof for the existence of a hereafter, where justice will be restored. Some other believe in the 'greater plan' where all suffering and pain somehow makes sense. And there are yet others who believe in the intrinsic absurdity of this world and that all this unfairness amounts to nothing greater, but is still to be challenged and rebelled against.
X: *stares blankly*
Me: Well, this was a brief philosophical overview of the matter at hand, which i believe did not comfort you at all.
X: What do you believe?
Me: *after a pause* I don't know.

Love: The Potential for Abuse

I have become painfully aware of how love can and is being abused in this society. It's perhaps like an early socialist philosopher visiting Stalinist Russia to discover how his vision has turned into a nightmare.

Love involves making yourself vulnerable and taking a risk. And it's not just the risk of suffering a heart break; in the society we live, it also carries the risk of being stigmatized and having your reputation soiled, more so for the girl. Society only accepts engagements and marriages with parental endorsement; anything outside that is shameful and taboo. Now, I do not like this fact and I certainly think that it should not be so, but I can't close my eyes to it either.

For many boys, relationships are just a pastime and girls are something to be used and discarded. They do not realize that it is human lives they are playing with, and there are consequences, if not for themselves, then for the girl. It is another thing to love someone genuinely and then break-up…

Dreams and Personalities

Have been doing some interesting reading, thought I might share it on the blog:

The distinction between Thick and Thin Personality types, that developed in relation to work on dreams: Read here.

On the characteristics of Thin Boundaries: Read here.

A presentation on contemporary thinking on dreaming by Eanest Hartmann: See here. [Especially Slide no 7, 25, 26, 30, 31, 42, 43, 53, 54, 55, 56.]

A psychoanalytic treatment for nightmares, Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT): Read about it here.

To the people who try to "reconvert" me

A possibility does not entail a necessity. Even if you can somehow show your particular religion to be consistent and logically possible (which is not the case in vast majority), I am still by no means logically bound to accept it, because it is only a possibility and not a necessity, and i am free to choose any other consistent and logically possible belief to indulge in that appeals to me more.

It gives me little but amusement to see your shocked how-can-you-not-believe! faces.

In The Head

'I maintain an opinion which all other philosophers find shocking: namely, that people's thoughts are in their heads.'

Bertrand Russell, My Philosophical Development (1959)

I experience the sensation of my thoughts being spatially localized in the region of my head; they appear to be coming from inside my head. And i think everyone gets this feeling.

But why do we get this sensation? Is this sensation inherently biological in nature? Is it secondary to our knowledge that brain is the seat of our intellect? Is it an unconscious inference made from the fact that ears, eyes and mouth are present on the head? [I think it is inherently biological.]

More importantly, is this sensation of any significance? Does it mean anything? Does it tell us something about the mind-body problem?

Philosophers who have always described mind as having no spatial extension, how did they explain this sensation to themselves? Perhaps they ignored it, or perhaps they thought that it didn't mean anyth…

One Sentence Story: Ruined

Ruined

Her lover died at the height of ecstasy, but that unexpected heart attack during the climax ruined her sex life forever.

----
For the unacquainted: What is a One Sentence Story?

Born Free Fallacy

"However, in a host of ways we make the life of reason easy for ourselves, by ploys and fallacies that feed our false hopes.... For example, there is the “born free” fallacy that has dominated educational thinking since Rousseau. This tells us that human freedom is a natural gift, that we are born to enjoy it, and that we lose it through the laws, rules and hierarchies of social life. That, in my view, is the opposite of the truth. Human freedom is an artefact. Societies have built laws, institutions and forms of collective discipline precisely in order that the individual can live freely. To believe that we are born free makes it easier to bear our frustrations, to blame others for our woes, and to dignify our inadequacies with the colours of a justified rebellion. It enables us to discard all knowledge that it is painful to acquire, and to believe that idleness is virtue. And the effect of this belief on education has been devastating, leading everywhere to the los…

The Personal Connection

X: God for many people is not just an abstract philosophical idea; people usually have a personal and emotional connection with God that is independent of whatever theological conception they may have of the deity. God is something that gives meaning to significant events of their lives: surviving hardship and grief, experiencing the death of a loved one or even moments of success and happiness; the prayers and gratitude colors a lot of that. So realize that, when you are arguing with people about God, you are not just arguing about a dead concept; you are trying to tell them that the way they have perceived their whole life is wrong. No argument, no matter how logical, will suddenly be able to convince people of that.

Rust

There is rust in my mouth,
the stain of an old kiss.

Anne Sexton, The Lost Lie

Limits

I was reading up on Milgram experiment [hat-tip: Dure] and the Stanford Prison Experiment, and their results make you wonder about a lot of things: About free will in general, about the limits to obedience and the potential for human cruelty. Disturbing.

There is a related issue, which I'd be interested in exploring if i could have: How much abuse are people willing to tolerate from the person they love, before they decide to end the relationship? Cursing, lying, cheating, manipulating, beating? What and how much? Like the Milgram experiment, I have a feeling its results might be darker than what we may expect rationally.

Our softwares are really screwed up.

Autobiography

What an autobiography should aim for: to write with such disarming candid honesty that it's almost impossible to judge you for the things you have done.

Gaza flotilla attack

Israel, shame on you!